Business-driven IT transformations (i.e. Unified Communications, adoption of cloud applications, the growth of Internet traffic for business and private usage at the office) imply a massive evolution for traffic delivery across the enterprise. Yearly traffic doubling is no longer an exception. Backhauling Internet traffic to the data center is too costly and adds unnecessary delays that degrade application performance. To address these challenges, enterprises have a new option that makes perfect economic sense in today's IT environment: roll-out hybrid networks that combine high quality MPLS and low cost Internet VPN with an optional local breakout to the public Internet. Hybrid networks mean a breakthrough in both performance increase and cost effectiveness, but they need to be managed properly for the project to yield anticipated benefits:
Hybrid networks' additional complexity needs to be properly managed. Traditional path selection mechanisms, such as policy-based routing, are inefficient, cumbersome and error prone;
Hybrid networks must be aligned to business requirements. The selection of the right network access (MPLS, Internet VPN, local Internet breakout) and the way application traffic is managed must guarantee the performance delivered to each user at all times;
Hybrid networks must increase business continuity - not put it at risk. This is particularly true when one of the accesses fails and the other one must handle the entire application traffic.
How Ipanema Meets these Challenges?
Advanced application performance management systems are able to overcome these challenges. They constantly monitor and dynamically select the best path to use among Internet and MPLS so that all available bandwidth is put to use without any risk to business critical application performance. They dynamically adjust network behaviour and resources to the exact application traffic demand. This allows business applications to run with the right performance without costly bandwidth upgrades. To really deliver their promise, they should have the following characteristics:
Be unified to provide enterprises with the perfect combination: performance optimization, business continuity and IT savings;
Be intelligently load balanced to make sure application flow will use the best-suited network for an optimal application performance (business critical ERP applications that usually take the high-quality MPLS network can start to use the Internet if it becomes faster for any reason);
Be automated to not add complexity and heavy management overheads.
What is the Business Value to Control Cloud-based Applications Performance?
Implementations of hybrid network unification over international network situations demonstrate that 80% of the traffic chose the Internet while 20% still prefer the MPLS access. This leads to a net cost decrease of up 70% per transferred Gbyte for a hybrid [MPLS + Internet] unified network compared to full MPLS.
(Illustration: the little mermaid – Edvard Eriksen - Copenhaghen)